If you have a fear of the dentist, you’re not alone. An estimated 36% of the population suffers from some form of dental anxiety. 12% of these sufferers consider it an extreme fear. If you fall into one of these categories, don’t lose hope.

There are lots of steps you can take to overcome your fear and get the treatments you need to maintain good oral health.

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1. Identify The Cause Of Your Fear

One of the first steps to overcoming your fear of the dentist is by identifying the cause of your fear. Did you have a bad experience with a dentist in the past? Have you suffered from dental problems your entire life? Do the sounds of dental instruments bother you? In most cases, there will be an identifiable cause of your fear and in some cases, there is no known cause. However, if you’re able to identify your cause, you can share this with a new dentist to determine how to overcome it.

2. Find a New Dentist

One of the best ways to overcome your fear of the dentist is by finding a dentist who understands your fear. When you find the right dentist, they will do everything in their power to help you feel comfortable throughout your entire appointment. They may even suggest alternative treatments to make your appointment easier. If your current dentist doesn’t take your fear of the dentist seriously, it’s time to find a new St. Louis dentist.

3. Schedule For First Thing in the Morning

If possible, try to schedule your dental appointment for first thing in the morning. That way, you don’t have to spend your entire day feeling anxious waiting for your appointment. You will get it over with first thing in the morning and you can go about with the rest of your day knowing it’s over!

4. Be Honest About Your Fear

Another tip that will really help you overcome your fear of the dentist is being honest about your fear. You might find it embarrassing, but trust us, as your dentist, the more we know about your fear, the more we can take steps to help you feel comfortable. Let your St. Louis dentist know that you have dental anxiety and tell them what aspects give you the most anxiety. Maybe you suffer from a low pain tolerance or you have a strong gag reflex, or you hate the sounds associated with dental instruments. Whatever bothers you, let your dentist know.

5. Get To Know Your Dentist and the Dental Tools

Overcoming your fear of the dentist can be as simple as becoming more comfortable with your dentist. If you spend some time getting to know your dentist before they begin working with you, it might make you feel more comfortable. In addition, ask your dentist to walk you through all the dental tools they will use. The more you know about everything involved in your appointment, the more comfortable you may feel.

6. Ask For Sedation Dentistry

One of the most effective ways to overcome dental anxiety is by opting for sedation dentistry. Sedation dentistry comes in several forms and allows patients to stay relaxed throughout their entire appointment. At Smile On Dental Studio, we offer three types of sedation dentistry to choose from. The first is nitrous oxide sedation. This involves inhaling nitrous oxide and oxygen during your procedure and experiencing immediate anxiety relief. At the end of your procedure, we will remove the mask and the effects will wear off in time for you to go home.

For more intense sedation, we recommend oral conscious sedation which involves taking a pill. We can also provide you with a pill to take the night before your appointment so you can sleep without anxiety. Oral conscious sedation offers a higher level of sedation than nitrous oxide and will require you to have a ride to and from your appointment.

Lastly, we offer a drug-free solution—NuCalm. NuCalm is a unique system that helps patients reach a meditative state of mind during their appointment. It doesn’t use any drugs and provides patients with refreshing benefits.

Talk to your St. Louis dentist to find out which type of sedation dentistry is right for you.

7. Take Breaks During Your Appointment

Another way to overcome your dental anxiety is by taking breaks throughout your appointment. Your dentist can check in with you every 5 minutes to ask if you need a break. Taking these breaks can help you stay in control of your anxiety.

8. Stay in Control

Before your dentist begins your procedures, make sure that you are in control and they know if you ask them to stop or that something hurts that they are there to listen. Staying in control and knowing that you’re in control will help you overcome your fear.

9. Bring Someone With You

Sometimes facing your fears is easier to do with someone by your side. If you find it hard to just get to your dental appointments, hold yourself accountable and make yourself more comfortable by bringing someone you love and trust with you. Having them by your side can make the experience more relaxing and comfortable—and they will have your back the entire time.

10. Distract Yourself

One of the easiest ways to get through anything that isn’t that fun is by distracting yourself. Just like watching Netflix while doing cardio at the gym, consider distracting yourself at the dentist. Feel free to listen to music, a podcast, or audiobook, or watch TV throughout your entire procedure. The distraction will help the appointment fly by and make you more comfortable.

11. Make Your Next Appointment Before You Leave the Office

One of the biggest problems people with a fear of the dentist face is skipping dental appointments regularly. One way to never skip an appointment again is by always scheduling your next appointment before you leave your current one. That way you don’t have to stress about picking up the phone and scheduling it later which may lead to skipping the appointment altogether.

Get Sedation Dentistry From Our St. Louis Dentist

If you suffer from dental anxiety or a fear of the dentist, we’re here to help. Not only is Dr. Chris Hill here to walk you through your procedures and ensure you feel comfortable the entire time, but he can offer several sedation dentistry options to keep you relaxed. If you’re searching for a new dentist in St. Louis and want to visit the dentist without fear or anxiety, please ask for sedation dentistry at Smile On Dental Studio. Please call (314) 678-7876 to book an appointment today.